Meet the MBA class of 2024: Ramprashanth Mohanasundaram, Harvard Business School

“As a passionate generalist, I enjoy solving new business challenges, with a focus on empowerment – I strongly believe that inclusivity can have both social and business impact.”

Hometown: Chennai, Tamil Nadu

Fun fact about yourself: Coming from a community of marginalized farmers, I am passionate about inspiring and empowering people who lack resources. I have focused most of my efforts so far in growing my village through various endeavors such as weekly tutoring and mentoring programs for children, creating a corpus fund to generate streams of sustainable cash for low-income students and support for the local community through the village temple.

Undergraduate School and Major: B.Tech + M.Tech: Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai, India; Mechanical Engineering with Specialization in Product Design

Most recent employer and job title: WestBridge Capital (Late-stage VC/PE), Investment Analyst

What has been your first impression of the Harvard Business School MBA students and alumni you have met so far. Tell us your best Harvard Business School story to date. The first time I heard about Harvard Business School was during my 2nd year of undergrad from a very close mentor who was writing his essay for the 2+2 program. I remember being at both amazed by the fundamental and introspective nature of the question and amused by its open-ended nature. Every year since, I have noticed that the most passionate and driven seniors dream of getting into HBS and fight for it. Later, as I began to discover my passion for solving business challenges that impact change, I was drawn to HBS and learned more about what makes it special. Working closely with senior HBS alumni in global companies, I have been inspired by their focus on the coexistence of business and social impact and, subsequently, the inclusive and empowering culture of HBS. . Immersing myself in such an environment will allow me to do what excites me most – to empower the underserved by giving them what society has denied them for too long, a fair chance at life.

What makes the case method so appealing as a way to learn and become a better manager? My experience in consulting, investing and technology has taught me this lesson: while strategizing is important, execution is the most critical and often the most difficult. I believe the case method of putting a student in the shoes of a manager in a very real business situation is the closest to being in a practical situation. Moreover, this approach also takes into consideration the lives and emotions of the people who will be impacted by the decision, which could get lost in a simple theoretical strategy.

Apart from your classmates and cases, What was the key element of the Harvard Business School MBA program that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Another important aspect of the HBS program was the prestigious alumni network of over 85,000 successful business leaders.

What course, club, or activity are you most passionate about at Harvard Business School?? As someone looking to build businesses in the future, I’m most passionate about entrepreneurship and VC/PE clubs.

When you think of Harvard Business School, what’s the first word that comes to mind? Why? Mark. I firmly believe that HBS is among the most prestigious and coveted brands in the world. As someone who was denied access to resources, being part of this brand has become not only my victory, but the victory of my entire community.

Describe your biggest achievement in your career so far: I am extremely proud to develop and manage a mentorship program for children in my village from marginalized and low-income backgrounds. My greatest professional achievement has been co-leading WestBridge’s “rural lending” practice, investing $450 million and supporting rural lending institutions that focus on providing affordable credit to rural areas of India, 40% of which are still plagued by informal credit.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? Three main reasons led to the decision to pursue an MBA. First of all it was the career timeline and clarity of my goals and what to do next, I want to improve and prepare myself before building my career. Second, I learned and experienced the global fintech wave which I believe is critical to India’s growth, especially for the underserved. The final reason was exposure to people, both peers and elders. Learning from diverse perspectives opens me up to new cultures and building trust-based relationships with like-minded peers will accelerate my journey to creating impact.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched or listened to that you would highly recommend to future MBAs? Why? I would definitely recommend watching videos of the HBS case method, something that is extremely unique to the HBS style.

What other MBA programs have you applied to? Wharton and Booth

What advice would you give to help potential candidates gain admission to the Harvard Business School MBA program? Reading the simple yet powerful self-introspective HBS test question when I was 19 kickstarted my HBS journey. After much searching for short-term goals for the first 25 years of my life, the question helped me pause and reflect on my life so far and my journey. It is very important to view the application process not just as an application, but as a way to discover yourself on a personal and fundamental level. Understanding yourself and connecting your past roots to your future aspirations is critical to success in the admissions process.

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